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How AI in Healthcare and Retail Plays a Role in Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pace of digital innovation is accelerating across all industries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re a nurse or doctor on the frontlines of patient care, or a retailer providing food and other critical supplies to people on lockdown across the globe, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies play an instrumental role.

This blog highlights some important use cases and explains how NetApp and NVIDIA are collaborating to deliver AI-powered solutions that can help these critical efforts.

AI in Healthcare

There have been a number of recent AI developments that demonstrate the important role AI is playing in the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, an AI “early warning system” was among the first to detect the signs of the new pathogen emerging in Hubei province.

recent STAT article identified a number of ways that hospitals are using AI to fight the disease, including:

  • Screening people who might be infected
  • Identifying high-risk patients
  • Screening frontline healthcare workers
  • Distinguishing COVID-19 from other respiratory illnesses using X-rays or CT scans

Medical Imaging and COVID-19

Distinguishing COVID-19 from other lung ailments using medical imaging is an area with significant promise, offering an alternative means of testing in situations where RT-PCR tests are in short supply or laboratories are backed up.

In late March, an open-source model called COVID-Net was released for this purpose. This convolutional neural net (CNN) was trained using almost 6,000 images from more than 2,800 patients. The researchers have released the training set—which includes examples of bacterial infections, non-COVID viral infections, and other lung conditions in addition to COVID-19—along with the model. Many similar modeling efforts are in progress in addition to COVID-Net.

Medical Imaging Reference Architecture

NetApp recently brought to market an integrated medical imaging solution based on NVIDIA Clara Train SDK v2.0 leveraging NVIDIA DGX-2 and NetApp AFF flash storage that is well-suited to COVID-19 and other medical imaging classification and segmentation problems. The complete solution demonstrates a data pipeline architecture for image acquisition, data curation, AI-assisted annotation, and transfer learning to fine tune existing AI models.

For this solution, NetApp worked closely with the NVIDIA Clara team to create a full technical report, accessible at the following link:

Medical School Turns to NetApp to Accelerate AI Pipeline for Lung Disease

While COVID-19 is rightly getting most of the attention right now, at least 250 million people worldwide suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), resulting in 400,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Early detection and constant monitoring are needed to slow the progression of the disease.

NetApp data infrastructure capable of handling massive imaging data sets helped Hannover Medical School (MHH) apply an AI model to automate segmentation for COPD cases, reducing diagnosis time from hours to minutes. The method has the potential to reduce time-consuming manual tasks, minimize human error, and bring down costs, while scaling the number of cases that can be handled by a single physician.

NetApp was immensely valuable in providing performance and reliability to gain sustained flows of data. It perfectly matches our compute power and, thus, allows us to improve the image quality, accelerate the data pipeline, and run five times more data in the same time.

—Dr. Hinrich Winther, Resident, Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, MHH

Free Access to AI Infrastructure for Genomics

AI and genomic studies are an essential tool in combating the pandemic. To help researchers accelerate AI-based genomics research, Core Scientific is providing free 30-day access to ONTAP AI, enabling researchers to take advantage of the combination of NVIDIA GPU computing and NetApp cloud-connected AI flash storage systems, in combination with NVIDIA Parabricks for genomic analysis.

AI in Retail

AI can also help ensure the supply of food and other goods to the billions of people on lockdown around the globe, including:

  • Helping manage supply chains in the face of unexpected demands and workforce disruptions
  • Providing a safe in-store experience by minimizing the risk of infection for shoppers and workers in groceries and pharmacies
  • Optimizing online retail and delivery in response to unprecedented digital orders

According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, 40% of companies are already seeing COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions. Companies that have made investments in AI are likely to be more resilient. AI can help supply chains improve prediction and demand forecasting, increase warehouse automation, and optimize delivery routes in the face of huge increases.

Cashier-less Checkout

When I first heard about Amazon Go, I thought the technology was exciting, but I didn’t necessarily see it changing my life. Now, every time I have to touch a smudge-covered pay point or watch someone else touch my groceries, it makes perfect sense.

While this type of cashier-less checkout technology is still rare in the US—and likely won’t be deployed in time to have an impact on the current pandemic—our collective experiences will pave the way. A number of simpler stand-ins for the full suite of technologies are already appearing, including “scan and go” apps that take the place of both traditional and self-checkout check stands, allowing you to scan and bag items using your own phone, thereby reducing infection risk from shared equipment.

Eliminating Customer Service Bottlenecks

The combination of supply chain, workforce, and safety challenges faced by both traditional and online retailers puts a significant burden on customer service. Contact center call volumes are going up while the number of agents on the job is going down. This is one of the clearest areas where AI can help retailers significantly and quickly. An intelligent virtual assistant or chatbot can handle a large percentage of customer contacts efficiently without human involvement.

NetApp is demonstrating automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language processing and understanding (NLP/NLU), and speech synthesis capabilities (text-to-speech, TTS). We have developed a virtual assistant for the retail industry, that will help companies deploy new capabilities more rapidly. NetApp’s edge-to-core-to-cloud data management provides unique advantages for virtual assistants and other NLP applications with seamless data movement, replication, and data protection.

This assistant also has the potential for use in other industries, including healthcare.

Sources: https://blog.netapp.com/ai-combating-covid-pandemic

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Mobilizing to Stay Connected and Productive in the New Normal

There are two sides to the remote-work situation that most of us find ourselves in today. The first is the official, corporate side that says that everything is under control and we’ve transitioned seamlessly to this new normal.  The second is the personal side, where I already miss the daily IRL interactions with my team and I hope that my Zoom camera doesn’t accidently capture me in my pajamas.

Like you, we’re working around the clock to help our customers, partners, and employees mobilize to respond to these unprecedented circumstances. George Kurian, our CEO, recently outlined what NetApp is doing in response to COVID-19.

Over the past week, our marketing, sales, and operations teams around the world have come together to identify the most pressing needs of IT organizations and to find ways to expedite how we can help solve those problems. We’re in this together, and NetApp is here to help.

1. Understand your next 30 days

We can help you analyze your capacity trends over the next 30 days—including cloud and on-premises infrastructure—and identify applications that might be running hot or storage systems that are overburdened. Existing customers should log in to NetApp® Active IQ® today to take advantage of new predictive risk models for systems that are reaching performance or capacity limits. We can also help you understand where you might be vulnerable to new security threats.

2. Support your remote workers

We can help you support the sudden increase in remote workers with cloud-based end-user computing (EUC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions and high-performance on-premises solutions designed for 3D VDI and power users.

3. Make sure that your data and applications are available and performing optimally

Once you know where your hot spots are, we can help you rationalize your data and application infrastructure, move data between on-premises storage and cloud, and help ensure data availability across clouds. ONTAP® data management software includes a range of capabilities to enable business continuity, including data protection, replication, and continuous availability.

We’ve put together a webpage with full details about each of these agendas.

Our team is standing by, ready to help you wherever you are from wherever they are (in pajamas or not).

Sources: https://blog.netapp.com/stay-connected

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How NetApp Is Changing the Game with AI

Since 2018, NetApp AI has enabled our customers to integrate their data fabric across edge, core, and cloud. Our unified data management supports seamless, cost-effective data movement across the hybrid multicloud environment, and our world-class partner ecosystem provides full technical integrations with AI.

We have earned a variety of prestigious AI industry awards and accolades over the years. However, two recent accolades are exciting to highlight in detail, because they acknowledge the work we’ve done around AI and cloud and why it’s so important to our customers.

NetApp Is a Leader in Scale-Out File-Based Storage, the Foundation of ONTAP AI

The first new report is an IDC MarketScape, Worldwide Scale-Out File-Based Storage 2019 Vendor Assessment,1 in which we are considered a leader. The reason this is important, aside from the positioning, is that NetApp® ONTAP® AI is based on scale-out file-based storage. As the IDC MarketScape said, many traditional file system providers consider artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning (DL), and machine learning (ML) to be potential areas of growth and partner with NVIDIA to bring robust infrastructure for AI/DL/ML workloads. NetApp is a shown to be a Leader with our file-based storage (FBS) offerings.

The IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of information and communications technology (ICT) suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market, and business execution in the short term. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3-to-5-year time frame. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the icons. (Source: IDC)

Furthermore, customers benefit from NetApp FBS offerings because it “runs in a unified platform with functionality such as storage efficiency, data protection, security, high availability, integrated replication, backup, and tiering,” the IDC MarketScape noted.  

Remember that NetApp ONTAP is the software that powers file-based storage across our portfolio, which includes NetApp AFF, hybrid-flash FAS, and software-defined NetApp ONTAP Select. 

“NetApp’s FBS offering is a very well-established offering in the market with worldwide adoption across several workloads and use cases,” the IDC MarketScape said. “NetApp has an extensive and loyal customer base that is well skilled in the use of ONTAP and may lead to adoption of ONTAP in the public cloud.”

We agree strongly with the IDC MarketScape, which noted that “support for hybrid cloud and multicloud capabilities are a must for any storage platform, especially FBS. As customers strategize infrastructure road maps with cloud-first strategy, it is imperative that file-based storage solutions offer the flexibility of deployment on premises as well as in the public cloud.”

A New NetApp

The second IDC report, A New NetApp Is on the Rise,2 said that NetApp not only is a leader in the industry, but is helping customers implement digital transformation in meaningful ways.

“Established enterprise storage vendors that want to stay in business as the industry transitions to enable digital transformation need to change their business models as well,” said Eric Burgener, research vice president, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies at IDC. “NetApp has been very open about discussing its own evolution as an enterprise vendor, and it is clear how it is changing the company and how it deals with customers to drive improvements in the overall customer experience.”

Through innovation, excellence, and customer focus, the IDC report said that NetApp is setting the bar across the industry. More than just a laundry list of technical achievements, IDC’s analysis points to the groundbreaking strategies that can help transform enterprises. For those customers who want to achieve unprecedented success in their field, especially in high-performance areas like AI, IDC pointed to NetApp.

It’s no accident that NetApp is getting noticed for its success in cloud, AI, and the supporting technologies that help companies in their digital transformation. Our goal has always been to provide the right solutions for our customers and help them on their cloud-first, data-driven journey. To learn more, visit the NetApp AI solutions page.

Sources: https://blog.netapp.com/changing-ai

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Avoid Disruptions from Unexpected Growth with Active IQ

NetApp® Active IQ® digital advisor has been helping customers like you stay ahead of ordinary potential problems for years. We’re now in extraordinary times, and Active IQ can help you overcome the new challenges.

Active IQ uses AIOps to simplify and to automate proactive care and optimization of your NetApp environment. Continuous risk assessments, predictive alerts, and automated case opening help you prevent problems before they occur, leading to improved system health and higher system availability.

As business continuity plans are rolled out to support work-from-home initiatives, many organizations are seeing their production systems used at a scale or growth trajectory that’s beyond normal expectations. Left unchecked, these systems could encounter various unexpected impacts, ranging from higher I/O latencies, to inability to spin up new workloads, or even to downtime.

To support our customers in these unprecedented times, we have added several new risk signatures to identify systems that are reaching their limits. The new signatures assess the available physical storage capacity and available performance capacity, advise you on the impact of any discovered risks, and guide you through steps and recommendations to remediate the risks. Think of it as a second set of “digital eyes” to help you stay ahead of capacity and performance challenges as your workloads and data increase.

You can easily locate these new risks in the new Active IQ web UI and the mobile app.

In the web UI, you can find them through the Performance & Efficiency and Capacity cards.

In the mobile app, it’s even easier because these new risk signatures are filtered and displayed on the main dashboard.

Take the first step to confirm that your system can handle the greatly increased demands from business continuity plans. Learn more about these new risk signatures in their customer support bulletin, then log in to Active IQ or open your mobile app to check your system health. If you don’t already have the mobile app, it’s available for iOS and Android devices from the following links.

Don’t Forget About Security

We also know that hackers have stepped up their attacks on consumers and corporations around the world during this pandemic. As a result, it’s critical for you to maintain a secure environment. Active IQ makes it easy for you to identify systems with security risks and the corrective actions that you must take. For information about the specific risk, the potential impact, and the affected systems, view the Security card in the Active IQ web UI or the risk section in the mobile app.

Active IQ Has Come Through Before

Active IQ is constantly learning and works relentlessly in the background to uncover opportunities to reduce risk, to increase availability, and to improve system health. And although this pandemic is unprecedented, disasters are not. Whether from a hurricane, typhoon, or security threat, Active IQ has a track record of adapting quickly to uncover potential risks from pending or active disruptions and making the impact and mitigation steps easy to discover and consume. Active IQ is your intelligent digital advisor and is here to help you succeed.

Sources: https://blog.netapp.com/avoid-disruptions-active-iq

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Enhance and Accelerate VDI with NetApp HCI and NVIDIA

With the increasing demand for graphical content, delivering high-performance end-user service can be a challenge. NetApp® HCI powered by NVIDIA T4 GPUs and Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation (Quadro vDWS) software accelerates your virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) workloads. Your business can improve the end-user experience and cost-effectively scale VDI.

This week at VMworld, we’re launching the new NetApp HCI H615C compute node with NVIDIA T4 GPU cards. Along with this release, we have created a technical report to help you get started: NetApp HCI for VDI with VMware Horizon 7. With this solution, you can handle virtualized 3D graphics workloads on various products from Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, Siemens, and others. With NetApp HCI, you can overcome the challenges of virtualized 3D graphics workloads and quickly explore deep learning with NetApp Kubernetes Service and NVIDIA GPU Cloud (NGC). And by using your data fabric delivered by NetApp technology, you can gain even more value from NetApp HCI.

Deliver Realistic Images with NVIDIA T4

The NVIDIA T4 GPU accelerates your diverse cloud workloads, including high-performance computing, deep learning training and inference, machine learning, data analytics, and graphics.

The NVIDIA T4 has 40 RT Cores that give you the computation that you need to deliver real-time ray tracing. The NVIDIA T4, when combined with Quadro vDWS software, enables artists to create photorealistic imagery that shows light bouncing off surfaces just as it would in real life. This RTX-capable GPU produces real-time ray tracing of up to 5 giga rays per second. With RTX, artists who work with Quadro Virtual Workstation can create photorealistic designs with accurate shadows, reflections, and refractions. And they can do it on any device, from anywhere.

Tensor Cores enable you to run deep learning inference workloads. Combined with accelerated containerized software stacks from NGC, T4 gives you exceptional performance at scale. T4 also introduces the innovative Turing Tensor Core technology with multi-precision computing to handle your diverse workloads. By powering breakthrough performance from FP32 to FP16 to INT8, as well as INT4, precisions, T4 delivers up to 40 times higher performance than CPUs. When you use T4-powered by Quadro vDWS software to run deep learning inference workloads, you can get up to 25 times faster performance than with a virtual machine that’s driven by a CPU-only server. For your graphics and compute-intensive workloads, a NetApp HCI H615C node with three NVIDIA T4’s in one rack unit is an optimal solution.

Check out the following information about NVIDIA GPU cards to compare features.

Improve Performance and Lower Your TCO

With NetApp HCI, you remove the expensive graphics workstation from the desk. Early internal testing indicates that this solution offers some impressive performance advancements:

  • More than 2 times higher performance than the prior generation for certain CAD applications
  • More than 6 times higher performance than the prior generation for certain medical imaging applications
  • Comparable performance to NVIDIA Pascal, using only a third of the power and in only half the size

Whether you’re in the oil and gas, manufacturing, media, or ISP industry, your organization can achieve economic and performance benefits from NetApp HCI with NVIDIA T4 cards. You can easily meet your mobility, security, and performance needs while you lower your TCO.

Start accelerating your VDI today. Review the H615C specifications or learn more in-depth information from the newly released technical report.

Source: https://blog.netapp.com/enhance-and-accelerate-vdi-with-netapp-hci-and-nvidia/

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Why NetApp HCI is Essential to Your Digital Transformation

How do you stay competitive in the new era of IT? You have to transform. Nearly every enterprise in every industry is exploring digital transformation to drive new pathways to their customers, create new business opportunities, and improve operational efficiency. Modern applications require faster, more flexible infrastructure to meet the needs of today’s customers.

Traditional infrastructure is designed for a world where each application is built like a vast monolith, rolling out a new version once or twice a year in a large change window. Six months of changes would have to be done before you could roll out a new version. This made it possible to plan infrastructure with plenty of time before each upgrade.

Today’s enterprises want to be able to roll out new versions several times a day. A new means of development is needed, where each application is broken down into microservices, small parts of an application that fulfill their roles individually. At the same time, enterprises are introducing container platforms where small microservices are ideally suited to run as containers independently of each other.

In a traditional infrastructure, a company would have a development department for a large application, and once or twice a year, a complete version would be submitted to the operations department. Operations would then make sure that the application ran properly and securely. In order to manage multiple applications, a small number of platforms and databases were standardized. The operations department had significant influence on standards and infrastructure.

With microservices, things work differently. Instead of 2 departments, development and operations, a small team is built up around 1 or 2 microservices. The team is responsible for developing the microservice and for ensuring the code is up to the expected quality. Each team features a combination of development and operations, which is now commonly referred to as DevOps. It’s up to each team to roll out new versions of its microservice in a secure manner, and the team makes its own decisions on rolling back changes, should something go wrong.

So how does this effect the teams and the way they work?

  • Each team is isolated from the other teams. This means that if a team does encounter problems or if developer resources become unavailable, the other teams are able to continue developing their microservices.
  • There is no longer a strong operating organization to impose standards and force teams to choose a specific technology. Instead, there is usually a security team that helps the teams adhere to security policies, but without dictating technology choices.
  • The teams are autonomous and can choose tools and technologies themselves, as long as their microservice does what it should, is accessible, and works with other microservices. A team can choose to build its microservice using Python in AWS with the finished services available there, while another team uses .NET and Microsoft SQL Server as the database in Azure, and a third team develops on-premises in a private cloud because they require integration with traditional systems.
  • To manage the entire chain from code, through testing, to production, these teams use “infrastructure as code,” which means they write a piece of code that describes how the environment should look and the code can then be used to create lots of identical environments. You can also use version management with this code so that you always have up-to-date documentation of how the environment should look.

To successfully implement digital transformation and create new applications, a private cloud is needed, one that is multitenant and that can run all types of applications and workloads with ease at the same time without affecting each other. Enterprises can no longer plan several years in advance and instead must be able to scale in small steps on demand. An enterprise must be able to control the private cloud with API calls and code. Strong integration with container platforms is also vital. Finally, enterprises must be able to connect their private cloud to public clouds, provision a microservice in any of these clouds, and make it work together with other microservices.

This what is driving enterprises to build private clouds with HCI. But it’s no longer enough to look at HCI as “hyper converged infrastructure:” a tool for sharing compute and storage resources that can start small and grow into something medium-sized. Instead, HCI should be seen as “hybrid cloud infrastructure,” the private cloud in your multicloud environment. An HCI solution needs to be ready to receive all kinds of applications and microservices with guaranteed performance, integrated into the public clouds and container platforms.

NetApp HCI with the NetApp Kubernetes Service provides a private cloud that adheres to these new requirements. The NetApp Kubernetes Service meets the modern challenges of DevOps organizations by providing a global control plane for container platforms in AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. No matter where your container platforms are, you can connect them and allow applications and microservices to interface between various public clouds.

NetApp HCI is the Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure required for success in your digital transformation. And with new services like NetApp Kubernetes Service, you can be sure that your infrastructure is ready to face the challenges of DevOps while exceeding customer expectations.

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Need to Simplify Your Hybrid Multicloud Experience? NetApp Keystone Delivers.

Today’s business environment demands continuous IT transformation. Our customers are turning to NetApp to help them modernize traditional IT infrastructure, build private clouds and harness the power of public clouds. But along with this IT transformation, they expect simple and flexible cloud-like experiences whether they chose to build their own infrastructure or buy as a service—on premises or in the public cloud.

At NetApp, we see hybrid multicloud as the de facto operating model for every customer. The first thing that I would advise if you are looking to consume NetApp technology as a cloud service is: look to the public clouds. NetApp’s Cloud Data Services—natively integrated enterprise storage services in Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS—give you the performance and availability to power even the most demanding apps.

Native Integration with Major Cloud Services

Of course, we understand that not every customer or application is moving to the public cloud. So, with NetApp Keystone we now offer two new ways to acquire and operate NetApp technology that reinvent the NetApp customer experience and deliver the innovation that our customers and partners need to thrive in a hybrid multicloud world. 

What are the key things that we announced today with NetApp Keystone?

Subscription Services. With NetApp Keystone we now give customers the ability to consume NetApp systems and software on premises with cloud-like subscription models. You get NetApp solutions delivered as a service for a monthly fee, the ability to burst capacity when needed and the flexibility to grow into the public cloud when necessary. Simple, flexible, affordable. Exactly what our customers have been asking for. The NetApp Keystone subscription services are really as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1. Choose a performance tier (not a system).
2. Choose a storage service type—block, file, or object.
3. Choose who manages it—you or us.

All with a simple 1-year commitment.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Ownership Experience. For customers who want to continue to own and operate NetApp technology in traditional purchasing models, we have radically simplified the experience. It is now easier to buy, optimize and grow our solutions with: streamlined configuration and quoting processes; cloud-like service guarantees for efficiency, performance and availability; AI-driven insights to optimize system health; and dynamic scaling of systems node-by-node or to the public cloud. This is a truly modern purchasing and ownership experience that will set us apart in the industry.

So, what does this new ownership experience mean for you?

  1. Buy with confidence. Doing business with NetApp is easier than ever. We’ve dramatically streamlined our ordering and quoting process. Our unique combination of efficiency, performance and availability, backed by a guarantee, helps protect your storage investment.
  2. Optimize with ease. Once you’re up and running, AI-driven insights help you optimize the health of your system while predicting capacity and performance bottlenecks. Use NetApp Active IQ® Monitoring to keep tabs on storage usage, data reduction ratios, node utilization and data availability—all from one easy-to-use dashboard. AI-powered Active IQ assessments trigger proactive parts delivery, predictive alerts, optimal storage setup and configuration recommendations. This gives you maximum performance and efficiency with lower costs and less downtime.
  3. Scale your infrastructure and data services. NetApp’s unique scale-out architecture lets you dynamically grow your data center infrastructure. Or you can scale to the public cloud with our cloud-activated systems. The first 10TB of tiering is free! Use our intelligent Active IQ product recommender and flexible, budget-friendly upgrade credits to invest in anything from small upgrades to a whole new infrastructure strategy or public cloud migration.

Our new offerings, combined with our existing portfolio of Cloud Data Services delivers on a simple promise to our customers:

Whatever your preferences, NetApp Keystone connects your hybrid cloud environment in a common experience—so you can operate like a cloud everywhere.

My parting question to you is:  What is your biggest concern in moving to the cloud or cloud-like experience? Let us know here.

To learn more about NetApp’s flexible data consumption models and new ownership experience, watch the 1-minute video below or visit our website for more details and content.

Source: https://blog.netapp.com/simplify-your-hybrid-multicloud-experience-with-netapp-keystone/

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Reinvent Your Modern IT with the latest AFF NVMe All-Flash Storage

As you embark on your digital transformation journey, modernizing and simplifying IT to accelerate business-critical applications is the new imperative. NetApp has been at the forefront of helping you modernize your data center and has been recognized as a storage leader. Although this recognition is an outstanding achievement, NetApp is not resting on its laurels. Instead, we are raising the standard with the launch of the new NetApp® AFF A400 system.

Primary storage that’s simple, fast and intelligent. Discover why NetApp has been named a Leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage. #DataDriven https://t.co/HYdxxlElNO

— NetApp (@NetApp) September 23, 2019

The new AFF A400 offers the power of secure data acceleration in a AFF storage system for the first time. The AFF A400 data acceleration capability offloads storage efficiency processing, thus delivering significantly higher performance. This capability enables you to capitalize on the exploding data growth from emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data. You can also harness the benefits of this data acceleration technology for enterprise apps and databases.

In addition to the new data acceleration technology, the AFF A400 system enables you to modernize SAN deployments with ultralow latency, end-to-end NVMe. The front-end NVMe/FC makes it possible to achieve the performance, scale, and operational efficiency goals of emerging workloads such as AI/ML, real-time analytics, and MongoDB. AFF A400 self-encrypting disk (SED) technology allows you to easily incorporate data-at-rest encryption in all your deployments with either the onboard key manager (OKM) or Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) servers. Finally, while enabling the latest end-to-end NVMe benefits, the AFF A400 also provides investment protections for AFF customers who want to continue to use existing SAS-attached SSD storage.

Today, we are also taking a giant leap forward in simplifying storage array management with the new NetApp ONTAP® System Manager. ONTAP System Manager is easy to use and insightful: With an intuitive GUI and smart defaults, it gives IT generalists an extremely simplified way to accomplish key storage tasks such as day-zero setup, storage provisioning by service levels, data protection, and performance awareness. Workflow optimizations such as the performance dashboard allow a quick and easy view of performance data for up to 1 year. And an intuitive global search, sort, and filtering capability at scale enables you to quickly find useful information.

In fact, we are simplifying storage across the board, starting with how the AFF A400 system is sold, configured, managed, and supported. The new ONTAP software offerings available with the AFF A400 are designed to allow you flexibility to acquire software based on your deployment requirements. We are also introducing new support offerings with flat pricing for the life of the system that also include a new digital advisor with predictive capabilities and a high-touch support tier, setting a new standard.

As part of a digital transformation to modernize mission-critical applications running on databases such as Oracle and SQL, customers are looking for a cost-effective, no-compromise resiliency solution that is future-proof and has an easy path to cloud. The new NetApp AFF All SAN Array has the rich data management capabilities of ONTAP, and continuous data availability through symmetric active-active host connectivity and the instantaneous failover capabilities of ONTAP 9.7 make it the premier choice for anyone looking for investment protection with future-proof products and services. The All SAN Array is a new AFF configuration tuned for mission-critical SAN applications, and it will bring resiliency capabilities traditionally found in high-end SAN arrays to the new midrange system.

After testing the new NetApp AFF A400 storage system, World Wide Technology Solutions Architect Chad Stuart summarized its capabilities perfectly: “The AFF A400 combines NetApp’s leadership in end-to-end NVMe storage performance with simple data management of the new ONTAP System Manager. This makes the A400 a top choice for our customers as they upgrade their IT infrastructure for their critical workloads running in a hybrid multicloud world.”

With the AFF A400 system, NetApp is introducing a storage array that lets you modernize your IT. It merges the latest data acceleration technology with the ultralow latency of end-to-end NVMe storage. You’ll continue to get the benefits of the industry-leading cloud integration and KeyStone consumption model to advance your journey into digital transformation. You can confidently start using AFF A400 systems for all applications and workloads without compromising on the reliability, availability, and rich data management capabilities that you’ve come to expect from NetApp technology. To learn more about NetApp AFF NVMe all-flash storage, visit the AFF A-Series All Flash Arrays page.

Source: https://blog.netapp.com/reinvent-your-modern-it-with-the-newest-aff-nvme-all-flash-storage/?linkId=100000008767891

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FlexPod: The Converged Infrastructure Swiss Army Knife for Your Data Center

More than a hundred years ago (1880), the Swiss army no longer wanted to send its soldiers into the field with a multitude of individual tools such as knives, saws, screwdrivers (for dismantling rifles), can openers, and awls, because they were cumbersome, time consuming, and ultimately easy to lose. This problem led to the idea of designing an extremely practical, resilient, and flexible multi-tool that would support soldiers in their daily exercises and any military tasks. Thus the validated Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox was born, and it has since been developed further in many variants.

We see similar requirements in the adventure of digital transformation, which has drastically changed the way companies serve markets with their products or services. When you look at the number of applications, frameworks, and software variants in IT, it quickly becomes clear that, as with a complex adventure, you can no longer use a multitude of tools in cumbersome silo architectures. A kind of Swiss Army Knife for IT is needed.

This is where flexible converged infrastructures come into play. IDC recently conducted a survey to evaluate the usability and market acceptance of these converged infrastructure architectures—in particular, FlexPod® from NetApp and Cisco. Both the operational and the economic characteristics were considered. According to the study, the concept of converged infrastructures for IT architectures is highly relevant and useful, especially in regard to all topics around digital transformation, like hybrid cloud environments, artificial intelligence, or new ERP systems.

According to the IDC study, the most important features for a multi-tool like converged infrastructure are:

  • High availability. The converged infrastructure solution must have built-in fault tolerance that guarantees maximum availability of applications.
  • Rapid deployment. The system should enable a faster rollout of new applications and services.
  • High performance. The solution must support flash drives, graphics processing units (GPUs), and memory classes to enable high-performance applications such as databases and analytics.
  • All-flash arrays for sustainable and predictable performance. Because of the increased requirement profiles (for example, for AI/ML), all-flash arrays for workloads have become necessary for many enterprise applications.
  • Software-defined infrastructure. Companies are increasingly demanding software-defined compute, storage, and networking; converged infrastructure models must take this concept into account.
  • Automation. The solution should provide mature software that assists IT administrators in automating complex or repetitive tasks such as backup, migration, replication, or resource provisioning through a self-service portal.
  • Integration with multiple public clouds. The solution should support the right protocols and APIs to enable it to work with various public cloud service providers—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and so on.
  • Common data structure for private and public clouds. As the hybrid cloud becomes the gold standard for cloud implementation, there must be a unified data structure that seamlessly connects all public and private clouds. Such a common data structure will provide complete visibility, data mobility, robust security, easy management, and a significant improvement in return on investment (ROI).

FlexPod exceeds the requirements set forth by IDC, helping companies to survive the new “adventures” in the market.

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How to Lower Your Storage Costs by Tiering Hot & Cold Data

According to IDC’s Worldwide Global DataSphere Forecast, 2019–2023: Consumer Dependence on the Enterprise Wideningthe amount of data that will be stored in the core data center is forecasted to double between 2014 to 2023.

While organizations are planning capacity builds to accommodate this, let’s look at how to determine the right balance of core capacity and cloud capacity, as well as the measures taken when budgets are being reallocated or reprioritised.

IT Leaders need to continue to modernize their on-premises data centers to handle the growth of their on-prem data. In addition, that data needs to be quickly accessable to internal teams who need to use it to deliver value to the organization. However, a recent surveyconducted by IDC with 500 decision makers stated that 30% of those surveyed identified budget constraints on capital requirements as the main inhibitor of IT modernization.

Herein lies the proverbial conundrum of doing more with less. With data capacity requirements growing at the core, IT Leaders will need to make smarter decisions to ensure that their infrastructure is able to handle the growth in a tight budget environment.

Storage Efficiencies – your first move

Just like any other storage, storing data can be inefficient without on-going housekeeping. Through this process, organizations might realize that the amount of space they actually need is far less than what you have purchased.

As a first step, Storage Admins can switch to NetApp clusters running ONTAP® data management software to free up more than 30 times the required storage capacity. This is possible by leveraging the built-in storage efficiency technologies in ONTAP®, such as inline data deduplication, compression, compaction as well as by applying space saving snapshots.

Data Tiering makes data efficiencies more efficient

In addition to storage efficiencies, freeing up storage capacity can also be realized through data tiering. Data tiering is the tiering of inactive data, or cold data, to lower cost secondary object stores available in both private and public clouds. As a result, highly performant storage capacity on the all-flash array is freed up for additional low-latency use cases or applications accessing hot data.

The results of tiering data are significant. Online reportssuch as Evaluator Group’s simulation, shows one can achieve 30% TCO savings by using data tiering capabilities like FabricPool, the data tiering feature in ONTAP®, to tier 80% of inactive data to a public cloud over a five year period.

FabricPool, now provides even more options for hybrid cloud deployments, making and further makes data tiering simple to deploy and manage.

Data tiering in a hybrid cloud

With FabricPool, Storage Admins can have more choices across more cloud providers to determine the best costs. Leveraging partnerships with all the major cloud service providers, ONTAP 9.6 tiering is available in Google Cloud Storage and Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Service, as well as NetApp®StorageGrid®, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage and Amazon S3, which were previously available as cloud targets. Flexible options include tiering as a pay-as-you-go model through NetApp’s Cloud Tiering Service where one can simply extend an OPEX cost model to data tiering.

Simplicity in the modern data center

FabricPool identifies inactive data and provides an automated report that gives an immediate view of potential space savings across Tier 1 aggregates. Once policies are set for that inactive data, full automation kicks in for tiering to the cloud – freeing up precious time and resources.

In the ONTAP design, metadata associated with datasets are kept on Tier 1 storage so that data on secondary storage can be quickly accessed when requested by the application. This also allows Storage Admins to effectively scale tiering capacities to the cloud, leveraging up to 50 times the amount of secondary storage beyond the primary tier.

Your tiered data also remains safe and protected. No one wants to experience a disaster or blackout, and getting operations back online need not be a complex exercise. By mirroring ONTAP® volumes, new destination volumes can now be restored quickly – making the recovery process simple and quick.

FabricPool and the Data Fabric

The amount of data stored on-premises is growing and will continue to grow, so it’s very important to modernize and future-proof your data center with integration into a hybrid cloud world. With NetApp’s Data Fabric, consistent data services to support the unique demands of your business are provided across a choice of endpoints spanning on-premises and multiple cloud environments.

First introduced in 2017 as part of the ONTAP 9.2 release, FabricPool, together with the Data Fabric, have driven wide adoption of ONTAP as the leading storage resource management platform, as reported by IDC. Hybrid cloud is here to stay, and making use of data tiering to the cloud can help free up high-performant all-flash storage in a cost effective manner and lower your storage TCO in the process.

To find out more about how FabricPool can help you modernize your data center with data tiering, visit our website or the NetApp Document Center.

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